SCOTTISH computer scientists and researchers are coming together in a project that aims to keep the country safe from cyber attack.

Called the Cyber Nexus, the £420,000 co-operative project is the first of its kind, involving all of Scotland’s leading academics in the field of cyber security working together for the next 18 months.

The Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) launched Cyber Nexus at the weekend, led by the University of St Andrews.

The university said: “The Cyber Nexus brings together Scotland’s academic cyber security capability, working together to ensure Scotland is a world leader in cyber security and cyber resilience.”

The project is being led by Professor Kevin Hammond from the School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews, who is also director of SICSA.

The Cyber Nexus brings together key researchers from 14 Scottish universities to tackle the issues and share their expertise, in the wake of hackers targeting everything from individual bank accounts to entire election campaigns.

Over the next 18 months, the Cyber Nexus will work in partnership with academia, industry, the public sector, government and the third sector to review and monitor cyber security and cyber resilience capability in Scotland.

Researchers will raise awareness of Scotland’s capabilities through public education, outreach and skills development.

Central to the Cyber Nexus will be a collaborative approach to working with industry and government to build skills, expertise and co-operation, by transferring knowledge, technology and capabilities.

The Cyber Nexus is a partnership of 14 universities — St Andrews, Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt, Napier, Robert Gordon, Strathclyde, Stirling, the University of the Highlands and Islands and the University of the West of Scotland.

The SICSA Cyber Nexus is funded by the UK Government, and supported by the Scottish Government, in partnership with the National Cyber Resilience Leaders’ Board.

Professor Hammond said: “We are excited by the opportunities that the SICSA Cyber Nexus offers.

“Recent events have shown how important cyber security is to key national infrastructure, such as the National Health Service.

“Dealing properly with this represents both a tremendous technical challenge and a tremendous opportunity to build on the world-leading work that is coming out of Scotland.

“The seed funding that we have obtained will bring the Scottish community together, focus attention on the key issues that need to be addressed, and create new innovation across Scotland.”